BBC Radio Wales Talks about Customer Service

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Customer complaints could cost companies up to £37 billion – according to new research by Ombudsman Services. Their study for 2016, released today, found that consumers made 55 million complaints, up by 3 million from 2015. In addition, they found that more than a quarter (28%) of consumers spent less with a company or took their custom elsewhere after receiving poor service.
In this increasingly digitally connected world, the importance of good customer service continues to grow, with increasing avenues for dissatisfied or angry customers to vent to ever larger, more accessible audiences.
Ember Director Mike Havard joined BBC Radio Wales to talk about his views on the findings of this report by Ombudsman Services. ‘Anything that raises the importance of good customer service as a strategic issue is to be welcomed’, Mike said, ‘…and this report is additionally important because it starts to put the financial costs of this out there. When £37 billion is being wasted, I would expect the Boardrooms of the UK to wake up and see what they need to do to ensure they are not part of this damning number’.
A common challenge organisations face is gaining approval from the Board to invest in their customer service. Mike discussed that boardrooms don’t necessarily understand, or are presented with, the value of good (or bad) customer service and how customers behave as a result of receiving better service. The fact that you can measure complaints and the cost of complaining is one thing, but there is a need to understand the impact on other factors, such as loyalty, word of mouth and future spend. This makes the investment decisions much clearer and easier to justify when the full value is understood – and the implications and risks are clearer for not investing too.
The BBC Wales interviewer, Rachel Garside, was wondering how firms should respond to complaints. Mike commented that for large firms, with complex processes, products and many people involved it was almost inevitable that problems would arise – it is how the company responds and recovers the trust that is a key measure – to listen, to acknowledge, to fix and then to work hard to ensure that it doesn’t happen again – i.e. to learn, is what is important.
Making customer service a clear part of an organisations’ North Star – the core principles and framework by which service decisions are made, is a really important part of this. All staff need to be clear on how the organisation needs to differentiate on service; for this to be part of the lifeblood of the organisation and how they will stand apart and can be a champion brand. Taking clear, firm action, listening and acting on issues are all a part of great customer service and will allow a customer with a complaint to walk away happy, trusting and to therefore keep coming back.
Listen to the full discussion on BBC Radio Wales, by clicking here the discussion starts 1 hour 55 minutes into the breakfast show’s broadcast.
To help you find your North Star, download our guide here and contact Mike Havard by emailing mike.havard@embergroup.co.uk.